Choosing an Audiologist

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This page contains advice from several people about choosing an audiologist.

Choosing a qualified professional audiologist

What is most important is that you work with a qualified professional whom you trust. Those individuals who are generally referred to as "dispensing audiologists" are usually your best source of getting the hearing aids you need. They should have the following certification: CCC-A (stands for Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association). These indviduals will have at least a master's degree in audiology, and generally are trained much more in depth than "hearing aid dispensers," who are licensed by their respective states but may have no college degree. Also, beware of large hearing aid companies who do a log of national advertising. Guess who pays for that advertising? You're right -- the consumer. In most cases, their prices will be higher for a comparable aid sold to you by a dispensing audiologist. There are many brands out there that are good, and many different types of aids that may be right for you. Work with your audiologist, and you should be satisfied.

(Contributed by Rich Nowell (CCC-A; but doesn't dispense aids.) at 9 Nov 1993.)

Look for someone who offers full services

Another thing you might want to look for is an audiologist who offers full services, not just a dispenser. And one who will give you a 30-day trial period to make sure what is prescribed will work for you.

(Contributed by Larry Hatmaker.)

Beware of "free" hearing examinations


Do you know of any place where I could go for relatively inexpensive audiograms ("to have my hearing checked") since my girlfriend thinks that I am losing my hearing.


BE CAREFUL! In your search for "inexpensive," you may, in fact, find "free".

But, you get what you pay for. A "free hearing examination" is usually done by someone who "bundles" all his costs (there are exceptions which I will mention below). That means, when s/he sells a set of hearing aids to someone, s/he is including the cost for his hearing test (and a few other people's) along with the cost of the hearing aid and the fitting service. (Most audiology practitioners bundle only the fitting service with an aid and charge separately for evaluating hearing).

So, let's say you are Sally R. Salesman and you want to make some money. You offer free hearing examinations (may even send out a few coupons). Then, when John C. Customer comes in for his free hearing test....what is your primary focus/goal? To sell him a set of hearing aids. Maybe even without great concern or time given to the selection of the most appropriate aid or the best fitting. If aids aren't sold - the appointment was wasted.

If you go to a private practice audiologist who charges $150 ($75? $200?) for a hearing evaluation, you have hired a professional to provide you a comprehensive assessment of your hearing health. No hidden motivation to get you to buy something else.

You get what you pay for.

And, if you are thinking.....yeah, but I have a strong will...I'll just go in there and let them do the test and I just won't buy the aids.

Well, if you did manage to get out without buying aids - you would certainly have little or no useable information about your hearing. (You certainly won't come out with an audiogram that says you have good hearing!)

The questioner has the following options:

  1. not get his hearing tested and tell his girlfriend to drop the subject; or
  2. pay the money and see a professional.

OK - exceptions to my statements:

  1. On occasion - at health fairs and the like, professional audiologists will offer, as a public service, a free hearing SCREENING. This is legit - go for it.
  2. Some publicly supported clinics offer free or low cost hearing assessments by audiologists. You might have to qualify (sliding fee scale, etc) but if you think you could show financial need, it's worth checking into.

By the way - if the questioner's girlfriend is complaining - odds are that he does have some hearing problem. Relationships aside - people don't usually make this stuff up.

I wish the questioner good luck. He also should remember to use earplugs everytime he mows the lawn, goes to music concerts or when he doesn't want to listen to his girlfriend's reminders. :-)

(Contributed by Holly Geeslin at 7 Feb 1996.)

Last update date: 
2005 Nov 29